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Entschließungsantrag - B9-0424/2020Entschließungsantrag
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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the deteriorating situation of human rights in Egypt, in particular the case of the activists of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)

15.12.2020 - (2020/2912(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 144 of the Rules of Procedure

Miguel Urbán Crespo
on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group

Verfahren : 2020/2912(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the deteriorating situation of human rights in Egypt, in particular the case of the activists of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)


The European Parliament,

-  having regard to its previous resolutions on Egypt,


-  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders of 1998,


-  having regard to the joint statement of 27 November 2020, by UN rights experts condemn retaliatory arrests of activists in Egypt,  and the joint statement of 24 August 2020, by UN rights experts on Imprisoned human rights defenders in Egypt at grave risk of COVID-19,


-  having regard to the joint statement of the 13 May 2020, by UNODC, WHO, UNAIDS and OHCHR on COVID-19 in prisons and other closed settings,  


-  having regard to the Constitution of Egypt, notably its Articles 52 (on the prohibition of torture in all forms and types.), 73 (on freedom of assembly) and 93 (on the binding character of international human rights law),


-  having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights of 1981,


-  having regard to the Arab Charter on Human Rights,


-  having regard to the EU Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on Egypt of August 2013 and  February 2014,


-  having regard to Rule 144 of its Rules of Procedure,



  1. whereas the human rights situation in Egypt has continued to steadily deteriorate as authorities intensify  their crackdown on civil society, human rights defenders, journalists and academics, and continue to brutally and systematically repress any form of dissent; whereas Egyptian authorities have increasingly employed repressive tactics such as range from asset freezes and travel bans, prolonged arbitrary and pre-trial detention, enforced disappearance, torture, and judicial harassment, including through unfounded investigations for national security and counter-terrorism related charges;


  1. whereas in November three human rights defenders of EIPR (Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights): Mohammed Basheer, Kareem Ennarah, and Gasser Abed El Razek, were arrested and charged with baseless “terrorism” allegations; whereas they were finally released but the charges against them have not been dropped; whereas all three of them had participated in a briefing with several EU Member States ambassadors and other diplomats on November 3rd, and were detained shortly after apparently in retaliation for holding the meeting:


  1. whereas these arrests are a new case in the escalating campaign against EIPR; whereas authorities have targeted EIPR since 2016, when the bank accounts of former EIPR director and founder Hossam Bahgat were frozen and he was banned from leaving the country; whereas in February 2020, EIPR’s researcher, Patrick Zaki, was arrested and subjected to torture, and remains in pre-trial detention on charges relating to terrorism and incitement;


  1. whereas the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights  has affirmed that the newest arrests within “a broader pattern of intimidating organizations defending human rights and of the use of counter-terrorism and national security legislation to silence dissent”; whereas according to a group of 9 UN experts, Egypt is using the "Circuit Courts of Terrorism" to attack human rights defenders, silence dissent and lock up activists during the COVID-19 pandemic; whereas these courts infringe on individual rights and act as a tool to undermine the right to a fair trial and international human rights standards;


  1. whereas tens of thousands of human rights lawyers, journalists, activists, peaceful dissenters and members of the opposition remain imprisoned in Egypt for their legitimate human rights work or for peacefully exercising their freedom of expression; whereas some of the most prominent cases include human rights lawyers  Mohamed Ramadan,  Ezzat Ghoneim, Haytham Mohamadeen, Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy, Mahienour El-Massry, Mohamed El-Baqer, Hoda Abdelmoniem, Zyad el-Elaimy; reseachers Patrick Zaki and Ibrahim Ezz El-Din, rights defenders and activists Ramy Kamel, Alaa Abdel Fattah, Abdelrahman Tarek, Ramy Shaath,  Ahmed Amasha, Hassan Barbary, Sanaa Seif, bloggers and journalists including Mohamed Ibrahim, Esraa Abdel Fattah, Solafa Magdy, Hossam al-Sayyad, Kamal El-Balshy, Islam El-Kalhy, Mahmoud Hussein, as well as members of political parties and movements such as Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh;


  1. whereas the WHO, the UNODC, the OHCHR, and UNAIDS in May called for the release of any held in pre-trial detention, as well as of any who may be released without posing a risk to public safety, in order to mitigate overcrowding in prisons, and in April OHCHR reiterated this call to Egypt directly; whereas rather than carry out the necessary releases to ensure the safety and respect of rights for prisoners, Egypt has placed additional restrictions on the prison population, limiting access to prisoners, restricting critical information from being shared with families, and renewing detention periods without proper hearings; whereas the political prisoners are already detained in filthy and overcrowded facilities, with severely restricted access to healthcare; whereas this year the musician Shady Habash and US citizen Mustafa Kassem, died as a result of medical negligence while in detention;


  1. whereas women human rights defenders in Egypt continue to face various forms of state-led harassment, notably in the form of defamatory campaigns and judicial prosecution; whereas activists defending the rights of LGBTQI people face continuous repression, including under the guise of the preservation of “public morals”; whereas in 2020, women influencers on TikTok have been detained, tried and sentenced for allegedly “violating family values” while victims and witnesses in the Fairmont gang rape case, have been abducted, detained and subjected to forced anal and virginity tests amounting to torture or inhuman treatment;


  1. whereas according to 19 UN human rights experts, “there are credible allegations that some Egyptian defenders have been arbitrarily detained, forcibly disappeared or tortured simply for standing up for human rights”; whereas Trade unionist and environmental rights defender Ahmed Amasha has been forcibly disappeared since 19 June 2020;


  1. whereas the death penalty is being used as a tool of repression to stifle opposition; whereas 53 mass trials have been conducted since 2011, in which 2,182 death sentences were handed down; whereas more civilians are being tried in military courts than ever before; whereas between 2017 and 2020, at least 97 people received the death penalty before military courts; whereas Egypt has executed at least 110 people in 2020, with 66 of those happening since October 3rd; whereas at least 39 people are at risk of imminent execution, despite concerns that Egypt’s criminal justice system cannot afford defendants the basic guarantees of due process and fair trial rights; whereas at least 17 children have received death sentences since 2011;


  1. whereas the independence of the Egyptian judicial system has been continuously eroded during the last six years, accountability remains almost entirely absent for serious human rights violations by Egyptian security forces, and there is no proper investigation of allegations against the military; whereas Italian prosecutors announced on November 10, 2020, they have collected sufficient evidence to charge four Egyptian security officials, for the 2016 kidnapping, torture, and murder of Italian researcher Giulio Regeni in Cairo;


  1. whereas on 21 August 2013 the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) tasked the High Representative to review EU assistance to Egypt; whereas the Council decided that the EU’s cooperation with Egypt would be readjusted in accordance with developments on the ground; whereas the EU FAC conclusions stated that, "Member States also agreed to suspend export licenses to Egypt of any equipment which might be used for internal repression and to reassess export licenses of equipment covered by Common Position 2008/944/CFSP and review their security assistance with Egypt"; whereas EU Member States and EU-based companies, have continued to export arms, surveillance technology and crowd control tools, with little transparency and without adequate monitoring of the end use of these weapons supplied to the military and police involved in serious human rights violations; whereas France was Egypt’s main arms supplier between 2013 and 2017 and has recently renovated its compromise to continuing selling weapons to Egypt;



  1. Deplores once again and in the strongest possible terms, Egypt’s continuing and intensifying crackdown on fundamental rights and on human rights defenders, lawyers, protesters, journalists, bloggers, trade unionists, students, children, women’s rights activists, LGBTI people, civil society organisations, political opponents and minorities; expresses its deep concern for the fate of detainees and prisoners held in overcrowded places of detention, in abysmal conditions, with inadequate access to or outright denial of medical care  during the COVID-19 pandemic and calls on the authorities to urgently decongest places of detention; calls on the Egyptian authorities to put an end to all acts of harassment and repression, including at judicial level;
  2. Is outraged at the recent arrests of EIPR staff Gasser Abdel Razek, Karim Ennarah and Mohammad Basheer in apparent retaliation for their legitimate meeting with European diplomats in Cairo; welcomes their provisional release, but urges authorities to drop all charges against them, end all forms of harassment and intimidation against them and the EIPR founder and acting director Hossam Bahgat, and revoke any restrictive measures, including travel bans and asset freezes, adopted against them and the EIPR; regrets that the releases weren’t followed by further ones, including in particular that of EIPR researcher Patrick Zaki whose detention order was renewed for 45 days on 6 December by a “terrorist circuit” judge along with 736 other detainees in the same hearing;
  3. Calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Egypt’s tens of thousands of political prisoners detained for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly including human rights lawyers  Mohamed Ramadan,  Ezzat Ghoneim, Haytham Mohamadeen, Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy, Mahienour El-Massry, Mohamed El-Baqer, Hoda Abdelmoniem, Zyad el-Elaimy; reseachers Patrick Zaki and Ibrahim Ezz El-Din, rights defenders and activists Ramy Kamel, Alaa Abdel Fattah, Abdelrahman Tarek, Ramy Shaath,  Ahmed Amasha, Hassan Barbary, Sanaa Seif; bloggers and journalists including Mohamed Ibrahim, Esraa Abdel Fattah, Solafa Magdy, Hossam al-Sayyad, Kamal El-Balshy, Islam El-Kalhy, Mahmoud Hussein;  as well as members of peaceful political parties and movements such as Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh; pending their release, asks to allow them full access to their families, lawyers of their choice and adequate medical care;
  4. Denounces the practice of “recycling”, where the authorities accuse hundreds of individuals detained pending investigations over similar charges, in new cases to keep them in pre-trial detention; urges  Egyptian authorities to cease that practice particularly against human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists, including Mohamed al-Baqer, Mahienour al-Massry, Solafa Magdy, Esraa Abdelfattah, Amr Imam, Mohamed Salah, Radwa Mohamed, Mohamed “Oxygen” Radwan, Abdelrahman Tarek, notably within case 855/2020 of the Supreme State Security Prosecution;
  5. Deplores Egypt’s continued use of counter-terrorism legislation to target civil society notably the sentencing of Bahey el-din Hassan to 15 years’ imprisonment in absentia, and the arbitrary addition of defenders including Mohamed al-Baqer, Ramy Shaath, Zyad al-Elaimy and Alaa Abdelfattah on Egypt’s “terrorists list”;
  6. Urges the Egyptian authorities to permanently cease the abusive investigations against human rights organisations, to close Case 173/2011 (the ‘Foreign Funding Case’), and lift all travel bans imposed on human rights defenders and staff members of human rights NGOs;
  7. Reiterates its call for the repeal of the 2019 NGO law and for its replacement by a new legislative framework, drafted in genuine consultation with civil society organisations; urges Egyptian authorities to amend or repeal abusive legislation such as the Law on Counter-Terrorism (Law 94/2015), the Law on Terrorist Entities (8/2015) and Emergency Law of 1958, severely restricting the right to freedom of expression and association and to peaceful assembly;
  8. Demands to the authorities to amend, adopt and effectively implement legislation to eliminate all forms of discrimination and criminalise all forms of violence against women and girls; calls on the authorities to end the practise of arresting and prosecuting women for posting videos on social media platforms on “morality” charges, ensure that rape survivors and witness are protected, including from arbitrary prosecution and detention, and end the arrest and prosecution of members of the LGBTI community solely on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation;
  9. Deplores the rise in executions in Egypt; urges the Egyptian authorities to decree a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the use of the death penalty in Egypt, and reiterates its call on Egypt to sign and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aimed at the abolition of the death penalty;
  10. Strongly condemns the enforced disappearance and the use of torture and calls on Egyptian authorities to put an end to these practices;
  11. Condemns the persistent lack of meaningful cooperation from the Egyptian authorities in the efforts to securing accountability for the abduction, torture and murder of Giulio Regeni; demands Egyptian authorities to hand over the four Egyptian security officials accused, for a fair trial in Rome;
  12. Regrets once again that the EU and its Member States have not responded in a resolute manner to the egregious human rights violations committed under President al-Sisi’s rule; notes with concern that this approach has not led to progress in the country’s ever deteriorating human rights record;
  13. Rejects the fact that French authorities, including President Macron, have recently received Al Sisi and awarded him with the most prestigious honorary medal; recalls that EU and its Member States must not reward leaders responsible for human rights violations and calls in this regard for the annulment of the awards;
  14. Urges the EU and its member states to set up, at the upcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council, a long overdue monitoring and reporting mechanism on grave human rights violations in Egypt;
  15. Reiterates its call for a profound and comprehensive review of the EU’s relations with Egypt; considers that the human rights situation in Egypt requires a serious revision of the Commission’s budget support operations, which should be restricted to primarily supporting civil society; calls for more transparency and the inclusion of ex ante human rights impact assessments for all forms of financial support or training provided by the EU to Egypt, directly or indirectly;
  16. Regrets that the commitments made in the 2017-2020 EU-Egypt Partnership Priorities haven not been respected; calls for the EU, with a view to negotiating new partnership priorities, to establish clear benchmarks that make further cooperation with Egypt conditional on progress in the reform of democratic institutions, the rule of law and human rights, and to mainstream human rights concerns in all talks with Egyptian authorities; urges the Commission and EEAS not to organize the next EU-Egypt Association Council meeting at least until tangible improvements have taken place in Egypt’s human rights situation, in particular the release of arbitrarily detained human rights defenders and journalists, closing of Case 173/2011, removing arbitrary travel bans and asset freezes against human rights defenders and amending of the NGO Law;
  17.  Reiterates that human rights should not be undermined by migration management or counter-terrorism actions; strongly condemns all readmission policies, especially those relating to countries where these people risk their lives and face ill-treatment contrary to the Geneva Convention, which may be particularly the case in Egypt; calls on the EU and its Member States to suspend any expulsion to Egypt;
  18. Denounces the harassment of human rights defenders  from the  Sudanese refugee community in Egypt arbitrarily detained and subjected to verbal and racial abuse; calls on the Egyptian authorities to carry out an immediate and independent investigation into these matters with a view to publishing the results and holding those responsible to account; additionally deplores the lack of reaction from the UNHCR in protecting Sudanese asylum seekers carrying out peaceful and legitimate human rights work;
  19. Deeply regrets that the Foreign Affairs Council has to date failed to issue an implementing act following its 23 August 2013 conclusions announcing the suspension of export licences for any equipment which might be used for internal repression in line with Common Position 2008/944/CFSP and the persistent non-compliance of EU Member States with these commitments; reiterates its call on EU and its Member States to adopt a Council Decision prohibiting the sale, supply, transfer or export of any form of security equipment and military aid that could be used for internal repression in Egypt, including surveillance technology and security equipment that can facilitate attacks on human rights defenders and civil society; calls on the VP/HR to report on the current state of military and security cooperation of Member States with Egypt; calls for the EU to implement in full its export controls vis-à-vis Egypt with regard to goods that could be used for repression, torture or capital punishment;
  20. Further insists on revising Common Position 2008/944/CFSP, in accordance with Article 7 of the Arms Trade Treaty, in order to clarify the legal obligation to refuse an export licence where there is a risk that the military technology or equipment will be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of human rights or international humanitarian law (Article 2.2 of the Common Position), and to include a formal mechanism to monitor Member States' compliance with Common Position to ensure its rigorous and consistent application;
  21. Calls on the EU and the Member States to suspend counterterrorism cooperation with Egypt and to unequivocally condemn the misuse of counterterrorism legislation and policies to silence civil society and human rights defenders, and promote human rights as central elements of international counterterrorism efforts;
  22. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the parliaments and governments of the Member States, the President and Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt, the African Commission on Human Rights and Peoples' Rights, the UN general secretary and UN relevant bodies.



Letzte Aktualisierung: 15. Dezember 2020
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